Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Clinical Information

Ultrasound-guided facet block to low back pain: a case report

Bloqueio facetário guiado por ultrassom para lombalgia: relato de caso

Ana Ellen Q. Santiago; Plinio C. Leal; Elmiro Helio M. Bezerra; Ana Laura A. Giraldes; Leonardo C. Ferraro; Andre H. Rezende; Rioko Kimiko Sakata

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BACKGROUND: Osteoarthrosis is a common cause of low back pain. The diagnosis is clinical and can be confirmed by imaging studies. Pain treatment and confirmation of diagnosis are made by intra-articular injection of corticosteroid and by local anesthetic use, due to clinical improvement. A direct monitoring of the procedure can be done under fluoroscopy, a classic technique, or else by an ultrasound-guided procedure. CASE REPORT: Female patient, 88 years old, 1.68 m and 72 kg, with facet osteoarthrosis at L2-L3, L3-L4 and L4-L5 for two years. On physical examination, she exhibited pain on lateralization and spinal extension. We opted in favor of an ultrasound-guided facet joint block. A midline spinal longitudinal scan was obtained, with identification of the desired joint space at L3-L4. A 25 G needle was inserted into the skin by the echographic off-plane ultrasound technique. 1 mL of contrast was administered, with confirmation by fluoroscopy. After aspiration of the contrast, 1 mL of solution containing 0.25% bupivacaine hydrochloride and 10 mg of methylprednisolone acetate was injected. Injections into L3-L4, L2-L3 and L1-L2 to the right were applied. CONCLUSIONS: The visualization of the facet joint by ultrasound involves minimal risk, besides reduction of radiation. This option is suitable for a large part of the population. However, fluoroscopy and computed tomography remain as monitoring techniques indicated for patients with specific characteristics, such as obesity, severe degenerative diseases and anatomical malformations, in which the ultrasound technique is still in need of further study.


Facet block, Low back pain, Ultrasound


JUSTIFICATIVA: a osteoartrose facetária é causa frequente de dor lombar. O diagnóstico é clínico e pode ser confirmado por imagem. O tratamento da dor e a confirmação do diagnóstico são feitos pela injeção intra-articular de corticosteroide e anestésico local, por causa da melhoria clínica. A monitoração direta do procedimento pode ser feita por fluoroscopia, técnica clássica, ou guiada por ultrassom. RELATO DE CASO: paciente do sexo feminino, 88 anos, 1,68 m e 72 kg, com osteoartrose facetária em L2-L3, L3-L4 e L4-L5 havia dois anos. No exame físico, dor à lateralização e à extensão da coluna. Optou-se pelo bloqueio da articulação facetária guiado por ultrassom. Foi feito escaneamento longitudinal na linha média da coluna vertebral e identificado o espaço articular desejado em L3-L4. Uma agulha 25G foi introduzida na pele pela técnica fora de plano ecográfico. Foi administrado 1 mL de contraste, confirmado com fluoroscopia. Após aspiração do contraste, foi injetado 1 mL de solução contendo cloridrato de bupivacaína 0,25% e 10 mg de acetato de metilprednisolona. Foram feitas injeções nos espaços L3-L4, L2-L3 e L1-L2 à direita. CONCLUSÕES: a visualização da articulação facetária pelo ultrassom determina mínimo risco e redução da radiação e é indicada para grande parte da população. Ainda assim a fluoroscopia e a tomografia computadorizada permanecem como monitoração indicada para pacientes com características específicas, como obesidade, doenças degenerativas intensas e malformações anatômicas, nas quais o ultrassom ainda necessita de mais estudos.


Bloqueio facetário, Lombalgia, Ultrassom


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